Introduction Of SB620
California State Senator Steve Bradford introduced SB620 in late 2016, after citing a case where a 17-year-old defendant was sentenced to 30 years to life after being convicted of a felony during which a firearm was used.
However, another person was also involved in the commission of the crime and may have been the one to use the firearm. The judge presiding over the case had no other choice but to issue the heavy automatic sentence enhancements based on the way the law was currently written.
Here’s what you need to know about SB620 and what to do if you think it may affect your case.
What Is SB620?
SB620, or Senate Bill 620, is a piece of legislation that aims to remove the mandatory sentencing requirement in felony crimes that involve the discharge of a firearm.
Prior to SB620, California law dictated that mandatory sentence enhancements that ranged anywhere from several years to life in prison would be added to a defendant’s sentence if the crime they were convicted of A) was a felony and B) involved the use of a firearm.
However, this resulted in many judges having their “hands tied,” so to speak, when it came to sentencing. Even if the evidence was unclear that the defendant actually used the firearm in the commission of the felony, the sentence enhancements were to be put in place regardless.
Is SB620 Retroactive?
Unfortunately, no. While many bills like it that reduce a penalty are retroactive, meaning that people who have been sentenced can petition the court for resentencing under the new law, SB620 is not. The language used in the bill states that it only applies in cases where a defendant’s sentence is not yet final and may not be used retroactively to reduce previously issued firearm sentencing enhancements.
Is Your Criminal Case Affected by SB620? Get Legal Help Today
If you’ve been charged with a felony or a wobbler crime in California and a gun was allegedly used during the commission of the crime, SB620 may impact your case. At the time of sentencing, you may be able to petition for the judge to dismiss or strike firearm sentence enhancements if you have evidence to support that a firearm was not used during the commission of the crime or you were not the person who used the firearm. It’s important to have an experienced attorney on your side to help negotiate for the least severe sentence. Contact Jennifer Mouzis today for a consultation by calling (916) 822-8702.